Published: September 24th 2011September 24th 2011
Driving Up Guanella Pass
We drove up part of Guanella Pass from Georgetown to look at the changing aspens.
Autumn comes early in the high country. The best weekends to go up and see the fall colors are the last weekend in September and the first weekend in October.
One of the most scenic drives to look at the changing aspens is up Guanella Pass. You can get up to Guanella Pass by going through Georgetown, which is a cute little mountain town directly off I-70. If we wanted, we could have taken Guanella Pass all the way south to 285 and back home, but we didn't want to make the drive too long for our toddler son.
Instead, we took the pass up for only a few miles to Clear Lake. The drive was gorgeous. None of the aspens were red yet, but the bright yellows and oranges contrasted beautifully against the green pines. At one point, we stopped to watch a big horn sheep that walked along the road. We decided not to stop for photo opportunities on the way to the lake. We worried Oliver would be unhappy to get out of the car for a few minutes only to get put back in again.
When we arrived at the lake, there was no
The Outhouse at Clear Lake
Clear Lake is just off of Guanella Pass. We pulled over to enjoy the scenery, and Oliver got to make his first trip into an outhouse.
one else but fishermen. The water was so clear that we could watch the fish swim and get caught from above. We watched for a little bit and walked further down, so as to not disturb them. The water level was low. I'm not an expert, but I hypothesized it's because the water run-off from the snowmelt has stopped by now. In order to get to the water, we would have to hike down a fairly steep incline. I decided it wasn't worth the risk for me to go while pregnant, but Andrew and Oliver both ventured down to the water level. They enjoyed throwing rocks into the crystal clear water as I snapped photos of them and the scenery.
Afterwards, we decided to motivate Oliver to do some toddler rock climbing. There was a field of boulders, and it seemed like a fun opportunity. Oliver climbed up. Once up, he basically decided to just walk off the edge. Luckily, we were there to escort him down. I couldn't believe he had no fear of heights!
I had to make multiple trips to the outhouse. Andrew and Oliver had fun splashing in the creek while I was away.
In all, we probably only stayed for an hour. If we'd packed a picnic (there were picnic tables), we would have stayed longer.
So, we made the short drive back to Georgetown. We spotted a flock (?) of big horn sheep. None of their horns were especially big yet, but they were cool to see! We also stopped for photos at one especially beautiful area.
Once back to town, we walked around the main street. There were ice cream shops and tea shops and souvenir shops. We stopped at a restaurant called, "The Happy Cooker." I enjoyed hot, spiced cider and a garden eggs benedict (vegetarian). Andrew had a vegetarian huevos rancheros, and Oliver ate a scrambled egg with cheese.
After lunch (brunch?), we made our way to the Georgetown Loop Railroad. The Georgetown Loop Railroad is a steam engine that runs between the towns of Georgetown and Silver Plume. I've ridden the train before, but it's been years. Unfortunately, we discovered that the cost of a round trip ticket is $25 per adult. It was getting close to Oliver's nap time, and we decided that $50 was out of our price range for the trip. However,
I learned that there is a pumpkin festival during the first two weekends in October. On those weekends, the train ride takes you to the festival, where there is a hay barrel maze, and kids get free pumpkins. I think we might try that next year!
Our half-day trip through Georgetown to Guanella Pass was a success! I wish I could describe the beauty of it all with my words, but I can't. Enjoy more photos of the aspens (and the sheep) below.
There are more photos below